Thailand: Not what we expected

Our time here in Thailand has been nothing like what we expected…but it’s perfect.

First things first. We left Haiti on October 31 and caught a bus back to Santo Domingo, DR, to catch the first leg of our flight to Miami. Because of a technical issue with the plane, we were delayed a bit and ended up running through the Miami airport dragging our backpacks in our airporters in order to catch our plane to Los Angeles…and we made it by the skin of our teeth!

I was praying the whole time, knowing what awaited me in LAX: My friend Hannah :). She flew all the way from Minnesota in order to bring me puppy chow, a new water bottle, flip flops, trail mix, M&Ms, and Raisinets, not to mention a whole stack of cards from my friends and family.
Just for me!
It was so wonderful.
I had a real piece of RVC/MN/home to hug and love on for a few hours, and I can’t say thank you enough. It means so much to me!

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

Thank you to Matthew & Hillary for donating your flight miles, and to every one of you who sent me a card (you know who you are) or made me puppy chow (Thanks, Rach ;-D) or trail mix (Thanks, Andy!) or just sent love and a hug with Hannah.

Anyways, needless to say, I cried when she had to catch her flight.
Part of me wanted to just come home or have her come with me.
But I know this is where the Lord has me
and I knew I needed to get on the plane to Bangkok with my team and squad.

So…after 5 days of travel…we made it to Thailand.
This month, my team is tenting in a tamarind and mango orchard.
We’ve been asked to keep our location and ministry under wraps, so I can’t give you specifics, but we’re working with children.
It is an amazing place full of so much love, joy and laughter.
The kids are precious.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I absolutely can’t get enough of their smiles, and I’m also quickly falling in love with the staff.
Plus, our contacts are taking incredible care of us and making sure we get to experience all the wonderful things about Thailand: the food, the villages, the elephants, the night markets, the coffee. It’s fabulous.

Aside from loving on the kids every evening, our days are filled with hardcore manual labor. We’re clearing land for a new boys’ home. We’re literally working in the jungle, removing and burning the brush and chopping down trees with machetes, saws, and axes. Talk about building new muscles!

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

We’ll also be working on the new girls’ home which is already in-progress…if it’s completed by the end of the month, we might get to move them in, so pray that we’ll get that chance…it would be amazing and they are so excited!

It’s crazy to think of how the Lord has orchestrated everything. If we would have been here month 1, our hearts wouldn’t have been in the right place for physical labor…yet after getting weaned in so easily in the DR and going through intense spiritual growth and dealing with a lot of sickness in Haiti, doing manual labor is so fulfilling. We can see actual proof that we’re making headway, and while it’s hard work, it’s such a breath of fresh air.

Even after only being here 3 days so far…my heart is happy here.
I’m excited for what the Lord is going to do 🙂

I love you all so much and I thank God for you every single day!
Internet access will be fairly sparse this month, so bear with me as I try to keep you updated!

Be blessed,
Jess

 

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